In a back-and-forth affair on Wednesday night, the Washington Nationals scored a game-tying run in the 10th inning and game-winning run in the 11th as they swept the Atlanta Braves with a 5-4 win.
Dansby Swanson showed that he can hit the ball out of the park just as easily as he can round the bases while it’s in it.
In the top of the seventh inning, Swanson led off and blasted a 90-mph fastball deep into the left field seats off of Nationals’ prospect, Lucas Giolito. At the crack of the bat, it was the perfect example of a no-doubter to put the Braves ahead, 3-1.
The lead wouldn’t last long. In the bottom half of the inning, Chris Withrow found some trouble, much of which he will likely credit to poor calls from the home plate umpire. Withrow walked Stephen Drew and allowed hits to Trea Turner and Jayson Werth to load the bases with none away. Ian Krol relived him and allowed a 2-RBI single to Daniel Murphy to tie the game at 2-apiece. Krol then struck out Bryce Harper before he was relieved by Mauricio Cabrera. Cabrera got Wilson Ramos to fly out and struck out Ryan Zimmerman on a 100-mph fastball to escape the jam in a tie.
Neither side got much going until the top of the 10th inning, where the Braves found some two-out magic. Nick Markakis doubled to left field, and Tyler Flowers followed with a walk. Jace Peterson came through with a two-out single to bring around Markakis.
Jim Johnson attempted to close the door in the bottom half of the inning, but Washington had other plans. After Zimmerman struck out to lead off, Danny Espinosa and Chris Heisey singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Anthony Rendon tied the game with an infield single to place the winning run on second. To everyone’s surprise, Turner grounded into a double play to end the threat and send the game to the 11th inning.
In the bottom of the 11th, Jed Bradley came on in relief for Atlanta. He walked Werth to lead off. Murphy followed with a deep drive over Markakis’ head for a double. Werth likely could’ve scored, but he was held up with no outs. Bryce Harper was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Brandon Cunniff came in to face the nightmare scenario. Ramos lined a single over the shallow-playing Kemp to bring ahead the winning run for a 5-4 victory.
Mike Foltynewicz enjoyed another very good outing on the mound. He lasted six innings, allowing just one run on five hits and three walks. He struck out eight batters, including some very timely ones early. Foltynewicz’s fastball was very lively in the game, and after some control issues early, he settled down to pitch another gem.
It wasn’t as good for Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg was removed from the game after just 2.1 innings due to what appeared to be some uneasiness in his arm after a fastball to Swanson. He allowed two hits and one run in his limited work in his first start back from the Disabled List.
Foltynewicz found a bit of trouble in the first inning, where he needed 20 pitches to escape the inning. Turner continued his absolute tear of the Braves with a leadoff single to center. After Jayson Werth flew out, Murphy singled to right field to put runners at first and second. Foltynewicz then gave Harper his best stuff and struck him out looking for the second out. Ramos walked to load the bases, but Foltynewicz struck out Zimmerman on three pitches to get out unscathed.
He wouldn’t be so lucky in the second inning. Wilmer Difo reached on an infield single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Strasburg. After Turner walked with two outs, Werth knocked an opposite field single to bring Difo around to give Washington a 1-0 lead.
The Braves quickly struck back in the top of the third inning. Swanson led off with a deep double to right field. After Foltynewicz and Ender Inciarte failed to advance Swanson to third, Adonis Garcia came through with a double to right field of his own to tie the game at 1-apiece.
Atlanta would take its first lead in the sixth inning with what turned out to be a disappointing one run. Freddie Freeman, Matt Kemp, and Markakis led the inning off with three consecutive singles to load the bases. Flowers grounded to short to bring home one run as Markakis was forced out at second base — thanks to an incredible play by none other than Trea Turner. With runners on the corners and one out, Peterson grounded out to second base for an inning-ending double play.
The Braves will have the day off on Thursday as they head home for a three-game series against the Mets. John Gant is expected to get the start against Robert Gsellman.